Tag Archives: Cooking

Microwave

The microwave cooks food with energy created by microwave emissions at high frequency, which activate the water molecules in the food and the agitation created produces heat which cooks or reheats food.

Microwave oven
Image via Wikipedia

It can be used to cook food in its entirety, partially, reheat food or even to defrost food. You can save up to three-quarters of the time taken by conventional methods, for his reason it is often called the refuge of the lazy and/or disorganised cook. This is because the microwave does nothing for the flavour of food and in many cases provides a far inferior tasting finished product to a conventional option, but it sure is quick. That said it does cut cooking odours and minimise the shrinkage of meats or fish and it is useful for small quantities of food.

The interior needs to be kept clean at all times. Metal or gilded containers should never be used. Also the door seal should be checked regularly, if it is damaged the microwave should not be used until it is repaired.

I’ll admit that our microwave gets a lot of use in our kitchen for three purposes, the first is for making porridge in the morning and this falls into the lazy/disorganised category as I just can’t be bothered with saucepans and watching when I’m still just waking up myself, mix the porridge in the bowl, bung it in the microwave and ninety seconds later I stir in some mashed banana and eat my breakfast. The second is for heating Elly’s “hotpack” that she uses instead of a hot-water bottle.

The final and most frequent use that our microwave gets is as a bread box, it’s big enough to hold 2 full loaves and it’s an airtight container, you just have to remember to let the oven cool before placing the bread inside and closing the door.

Recipe: White Soda Bread

White Soda Bread
White Soda Bread

Ingredients;

340g plain flour
5g salt
5g bicarbonate of soda
290ml buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 200C.

Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir.

Make a well and pour in the buttermilk, then mix quickly to make a dough.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, you almost want to treat the dough like it’s really hot when you’re kneading it, handling it as little as possible. Then form into a round and flatten slightly before placing it on a lightly floured baking sheet.

Cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a wire rack.

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust

A little over a month ago I left a comment on Cake in the Country’s blog, and shortly after I received an email from the “Appliances Online Fairy Hobmother“. Despite the girly-sounding name, it’s a wonderful bloke called David who is behind the invention of this supernatural being, whose purpose is to travel the blogosphere sprinkling round fairy dust and Amazon vouchers wherever she goes.

IRC-fairies
Image via Wikipedia

I was lucky enough to be offered an Amazon voucher to spend as I liked and I had several items on my wishlist just waiting for such an opportunity. George also had a lot of items on his wishlist, so there was much debating as to who could get what. Happily, my work came through with another voucher as a little thank you, so I was able to treat both of us!

Ever since George spent some time working inĀ Eden in Temple Bar, he’s been hankering after their cookbook so that he could replicate the dishes at home more accurately, so that was an easy choice for both of us. Next up was baking supplies – I’ve been trying to bake more often, and to do decent batches of stuff so that it will last for more than a couple of days. Space is at a premium in the kitchen, so a set of stackable cooling racks seemed like a great idea, and it was joined by a set of springform tins, so that I can finally make Grannymar’s Infamous Chocolate Cake.

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make jelly shots for any parties we throw, and ever since I discovered Jelly Shot Test Kitchen Blog, my ideas have been getting more ambitious! A set of silicone jelly moulds will ensure that the next jellies I make will be a little more adventurous than basic jelly shots.

Our final choice was a joint one and an easy decision to make. We’ve both been lusting after a gorgeous book by Niki Segnit, called “The Flavour Thesaurus” for a long time now. It’s an incredibly useful book that details what flavours and ingredients go best together, which means that if you suddenly find yourself with excess of an ingredient you can find classic or less well known matches for it without having to experiment yourself.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us what you would choose if the Fairy Hobmother granted your wish. Is there a cookbook you’ve been meaning to buy for ages, a piece of equipment that your kitchen is sorely lacking or even something that you’ve wanted to treat yourself to for a while?

Leave a comment below telling us what you’d wish for and it might come true! The Fairy Hobmother will be inspecting all wishes left here before midnight (GMT) on Sunday 14th August, and it could be your wish that gets granted! [Open to residents of Ireland & UK only]

Recipe: Potato Rosti

Potato Rosti
Potato Rosti

Ingredients;

400g Potatoes, peeled
Melted Butter
Salt
Pepper

Serves 2


These are fairly easy to make and a great alternative to mash or baked potatoes. They do need a bit more effort though, not much, so let’s not think about it and just get started.

First you need to peel and wash the potatoes, they should be roughly the same size so cut them only if you really need to. Next place them in a saucepan with just enough salted water to cover them. Place this on a high heat and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about a minute then remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool slightly before moving onto the next step.

Grate all the potato using a large grater, season with salt and pepper and add the melted butter, a little at a time, mixing in well each time, until the potatoes stick together. Depending on the type of potatoes the amount of butter will vary, however I find the starchier the potato the less butter is required. You could also substitute sunflower oil for the butter, but I find this can effect the flavour and colour of the result.

Next take a small amount of the mixture and form it into a mini burger shape. Fry it until golden brown on both sides and taste to check the seasoning. If you’re not happy add more salt and pepper to taste.

Next, shape the mixture into rounds like you’re making burgers. I use a ring mould for this but you can form them into rounds by hand either. Then fry on a hot pan until golden brown, usually 3 -4 minutes a side.

Why we got rid of our deep fryer

So, you all came here today expecting a recipe to follow on from my Deep frying post yesterday. Well I’m sorry to disappoint, but as we got rid of our Deep Fryer years ago, I don’t have any way of preparing and photographing a dish, even if I wanted to. That’s not strictly true, I could use the cooker top method. However, it’s difficult to control the oil temperature as well as being dangerous and to be honest it’s not something I’m really comfortable with, so I’ve decided instead to tell you about why we got rid of our deep fryer.

Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of th...
Image via Wikipedia

The short version of this story is because I was morbidly obese and deep frying was one of the reasons that I had become (and remained) that way. The long version goes a bit more like this…

When we first got our deep fryer it was a fabulous tool – every so often, we’d have chips with our dinner or onion rings or some battered fish etc. This is back in the days when I was first starting to cook “properly” from scratch. It was really handy just to be able to fire something in there to go with whatever I was cooking from scratch.

That was part of the problem though, it was too easy, too convenient. What’s for dinner tonight? Fish and chips? Chicken, chips and onion rings? Steak and chips? you get the idea and what was even worse was that we were using frozen chips, onion rings etc. We weren’t even cutting our own potatoes not to mention cooking from scratch for more than half our meal but that was OK cause at least we were cooking something from scratch!?

In truth, that would be fine if we were only doing it occasionally, but it started to become multiple times a week. All because of the convenience and the easy excuse “I’m too tired to cook after a long day in the office”. And then there was the smell of chipper throughout our entire home. It became easy to use the same excuse to leave the cleaning of the fryer and changing of the oil until the weekend.

Eventually we came to our senses and we said that we would put the fryer away in the back of one of the cupboards and try to eat “proper food” for 2 weeks. Thankfully, about 6 months later we discovered the fryer in the back of the same press and it wasn’t a pretty reunion, as soon as I lifted the lid and got the smell from inside I gagged and I knew deep fried food had returned to it’s proper place in my diet as a treat every once in a while.

Have I ever regretted it? On occasions, when I see a nice piece of cod in the fish monger or when we visited Fifteen Amsterdam on holidays and tasted deep fried Zucchini for the first time, oh and that time experimenting with Gnocchi before service in a restaurant kitchen and someone threw the little pillows of heaven in and crisped the outside, they were divine!

Overall though I don’t regret getting rid of our deep fryer, we both lost weight and are healthier as a result :)